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Students watch the mini wetland hoisted from the tank.
Students learn how to make their own mini version.
We were thrilled to join students from Curl Curl North Public School on a recent excursion that will help them better understand their natural environment.
Over 100 Year 2 students joined Council staff and representatives of Curl Curl Lagoon Friends to take a closer look at a custom-designed mini floating wetland.
The floating wetland is part of a pilot project set up at the North Curl Curl Community Nursery that has been testing aquatic plants in a dedicated 5000L tank using lagoon water over the last six months.
The innovative approach will determine which plants are best suited for a floating wetland and monitor how they help improve lagoon water quality.
If successful, the pilot could see Council further investigate a floating wetland on the lagoon, offering a refuge and habitat for birds, as well as helping to filter and clean the lagoon water.
On the day, students learnt about the kinds of plants and animals that live in the lagoon ecosystem and the importance of ensuring enough native plants are in place to feed and shelter wildlife. This was demonstrated nicely by the 3000 new native species recently planted by Council along the northern bank of the lagoon as part of an Environmental Trust funded project.
An ingenious hoist on the tank allows the wetland to be winched out of the water so students could see both the floating leaves and the root system developing underneath and the dragonfly nymphs using the roots as their underwater habitat.
Students were also invited to build a mini version of their own. Hands-on learning rounded off their experience with a whoosh and the odd splash!
Curl Curl Lagoon Friends President Paula Cowan was delighted to be able to share the pioneering experiment with the students.
“Young people need to hear that we’ve learned from the past and are doing everything we can to improve our environment,” said Ms Cowan.
“By involving students early in learning about the science of the world around them, it switches on their curiosity and develops a life-long appreciation of where they live.”
“We know there’s a long way to go to resolve the pollution issues in Curl Curl Lagoon and we’re pleased that all levels of government are contributing to improving things.”
“Together with Council, we’re responsibly trying enhancements on a small scale to get them right before testing in the lagoon itself. The early signs are really encouraging!” Ms Cowan added.
The project is receiving funding from a grant under the federal Department of Industry, Innovation & Science's Community Environment Program.